The Lady Elizabeth

The Lady Elizabeth

A Novel

Book - 2008
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Following the tremendous success of her first novel, Innocent Traitor, which recounted the riveting tale of the doomed Lady Jane Grey, acclaimed historian and New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir turns her masterly storytelling skills to the early life of young Elizabeth Tudor, who would grow up to become England's most intriguing and powerful queen. Even at age two, Elizabeth is keenly aware that people in the court of her father, King Henry VIII, have stopped referring to her as "Lady Princess" and now call her "the Lady Elizabeth." Before she is three, she learns of the tragic fate that has befallen her mother, the enigmatic and seductive Anne Boleyn, and that she herself has been declared illegitimate, an injustice that will haunt her. What comes next is a succession of stepmothers, bringing with them glimpses of love, fleeting security, tempestuous conflict, and tragedy. The death of her father puts the teenage Elizabeth in greater peril, leaving her at the mercy of ambitious and unscrupulous men. Like her mother two decades earlier she is imprisoned in the Tower of London - and fears she will also meet her mother's grisly end. Power-driven politics, private scandal and public gossip, a disputed succession, and the grievous example of her sister, "Bloody" Queen Mary, all cement Elizabeth's resolve in matters of statecraft and love, and set the stage for her transformation into the iconic Virgin Queen. Alison Weir uses her deft talents as historian and novelist to exquisitely and suspensefully play out the conflicts between family, politics, religion, and conscience that came to define an age. Sweeping in scope, The Lady Elizabeth is a fascinating portrayal of a woman far ahead of her time - an orphaned girl haunted by the shadow of the axe, an independent spirit who must use her cunning and wits for her very survival, and a future queen whose dangerous and dramatic path to the throne shapes her future greatness. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2008.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780345495358
Characteristics: 480 p. : geneal. table ; 24 cm.


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Oct 29, 2014

An interesting read about the early life of Elizabeth. Weir makes up in historical accuracy for what she lacks in character building. She doesn't have the passion or storytelling ability of Philippa Gregory, but Elizabeth's story is a compelling one nonetheless.

Mar 19, 2012

I've read only half the novel so far, and I can proclaim that Weir has painted a new and true portrait of the early days of Elizabeth. As I vivid tudor reader I notice the dramatic scenes put in or the gaps in history filled with the author's own intake. This makes the story even more unique and different than the average historical fiction you pick off the shelf. However, some were a bit to "over the top" with suggestions of Elizabeth not being the Virgin she claimed she was.

A great book any way and a must read for any historic lovers.

Feb 04, 2011

captures the early elizabeth in a perfect, true light.
a must read for any tudor lover.
one of weir's best works

crankylibrarian Oct 19, 2010

Why read a thriller when you know the outcome? That's the challenge of historical fiction, particularly in the case of well-known figures like Queen Elizabeth. Alison Weir, noted Tudor historian, essentially re-writes her well informed biographies of Elizabeth and her family as fiction, yet remarkably endows the familiar story with a tension and suspense that actually make you wonder how it will all turn out. There's no new information here: Princess Elizabeth loses her mother and her title at the stroke of a sword, when her father Henry VIII executes Queen Anne Boleyn for treason. Her status now forever in doubt, Elizabeth grows into a precocious, resourceful young woman, wary of marriage and sexual entanglements and skilled at keeping her own counsel. With few advantages beyond her courage and formidable intelligence, she schemes and charms her way out of various intrigues and treasonous plots, coming perilously close to meeting her mother's fate.

I was surprised at how much this novel moved me, especially the relationship between Elizabeth and her tragic half sister Mary. Initially seeing herself as a mother figure for the little sister who was 17 years her junior, Mary eventually succumbed to jealousy and resentment, carefully stoked by Elizabeth's political enemies. While we rejoice in Elizabeth's eventual triumph, we can't help but pity the failure and disappointments of her embittered older sister.


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